It’s Week 3 of the Brew Crew Corner. Hopefully in Week 2 your team got back on track with a win or you had a chance to go up 2-0. In the NFL, there are 20 teams with a 1-1 record. There are also just six teams that have started 2-0. This hasn’t happened since 1987, and it could indicate that there will be a ton of games come Week 17 that will decide some playoff spots. That is good news for fantasy owners as tight playoff races means less guys will be rested on teams that have already locked up a top seed.
We did not have a ton of significant injuries in Week 1 and we even had guys return to the lineup that were working their way back from offseason surgeries. Week 2 was not so kind to Matt Forte, Aaron Hernandez and Ahmad Bradshaw. There are a lot more players that are on the injury list, and you should pay close attention to how practice goes this week before you set your lineup. Those who own Antonio Gates found that out the hard way as he took himself out on Saturday night because he did not practice.
As with the NFL, injuries are a part of fantasy football. True fact, the percent of injury for an NFL player is 64 percent. If you apply that to your fantasy league, you would be looking at 10 of the players on your roster missing time due to injury. Everyone has to deal with players missing time, and you should make sure you are covered in case of an injury. The last thing you want is to lose your starting player and have to insert a guy like Knowshon Moreno to replace Matt Forte or Fred Jackson. You are in for a long season if that happens.
Don’t get desperate if you’re down 0-2 and have players that are missing time due to injury. Trading one of your best players because you started the season with two loses or have players that will miss time is not the best strategy. Some owners will look to low ball you with offers that are one-sided. Be skeptic of uneven trades that offer you two players for one. You may have to drop a player to make room for that trade. The overall value may not be worth it. Instead, work the waivers and find trades where you can trade your fourth or fifth running back for a starting wide receiver straight up.
The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who came through for their team.
Reggie Bush – 26 carries, 172 yards, two TD. It only took seven seasons, but we are finally seeing the Reggie Bush we thought we would see when he was drafted No. 2 overall in 2006. Bush is looking to be a draft day steal if he can keep up this type of production.
Danny Amendola – 15 receptions, 160 yards, TD. He’s points per reception league gold! These are the kind of players you love getting late in drafts that have monster games as your flex option. The schedule is pretty favorable for the first six weeks for Amendola.
Hakeem Nicks – 10 receptions, 199 yards, TD. Eli Manning threw for more than 500 yards and Nicks caught 199 of those yards. After a quiet Week 1, Nicks shows us that he can be a Top 5 wide receiver. Now if he can only stay healthy enough to play 16 games (he can’t).
The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who you would like to, well, you know.
Larry Fitzgerald – one reception, four yards. Not a good day for Fitzgerald as the team pulled off the upset of beating the New England Patriots but fantasy owners were left with a dud.
Jay Cutler – 11/27, 126 yards, TD, four INT. Cutler’s performance was brutal to watch. Not only did he throw four interceptions but he was sacked seven times. At this point Cutler is a risky start unless you need him for a bye week.
Darren McFadden – 11 carries, 22 yards. Credit the Miami defense for stuffing McFadden all game and limiting him from beating them. From a fantasy stand point, two points from rushing isn’t going to win you many games.
Good quarterback matchups this week:
Matthew Stafford against Tennessee. Stafford struggled last week and he ranks as just the 21st quarterback in Shark Leagues. He’s thrown just two touchdowns versus four interceptions so far this season. Last year at this time, he had four touchdowns to Calvin Johnson alone. Stafford will have a bounce back game this week as he faces a Titans team that has allowed five touchdowns on the year in facing Philip Rivers and Tom Brady.
Robert Griffin III against Cincinnati. I don’t know what happened to the Bengals defense this season, but in the first two weeks quarterbacks have had good success against them. Joe Flacco threw for 299 yards and two scores in Week 1, while Brandon Weeden threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2. Griffin III has started the season hot and looks to be the early favorite for Rookie of the Year and fantasy player of the year. He’s averaging 31 fantasy points over the first two weeks of the season. Over 16 games, that would put him at 496 fantasy points. He probably won’t put up 30-plus points every game but Cam Newton’s 412 league leading points from last year is definitely possible.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Alex Smith against Minnesota. Smith sits outside of the Top 12 quarterbacks in Shark Leagues at No. 14. He hasn’t had monster numbers but he is being efficient with the football. In fact he hasn’t thrown an interception in more than nine games, extending a streak of 286 passes without an interception. He has back-to-back games with multiple touchdowns and will face a Vikings team that has allowed two touchdowns each to Andrew Luck and Blaine Gabbert. He’s a better option than Jay Cutler, Matt Cassel or Carson Palmer.
Good running back matchups this week:
Trent Richardson against Buffalo. If you were able to grab Richardson in the third or fourth round, the rewards are starting to payoff. He looked great last week and has a good matchup against a Buffalo team that gave up 94 yards and a touchdown to Shonn Greene in Week 1 and 56 yards last week to an unknown in Shaun Draughn.
Michael Bush against St. Louis. Last year Bush stepped in when Darren McFadden went down and this year he has another opportunity with the injury to Matt Forte. With how awful Jay Cutler was last week, I would expect the Bears to try and run the ball more, which means more touches for Bush. This is the same Rams team that gave up two scores (one rushing, one receiving) to Kevin Smith in Week 1 and 89 yards rushing to Alfred Morris last week.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Andre Brown against Carolina. Brown will start this week as Ahmad Bradshaw has been ruled out. Opportunity is a fantasy’s best friend as you often find players each week that were irrelevant the week before to start for you in place of those injured and on a bye. He’ll face a Panthers team that gave up 110 yards to Pierre Thomas on just nine carries.
Bad quarterback matchups this week:
Matt Schaub against Denver. A good defense and great running game is not the best thing for fantasy quarterbacks. Schaub posted just 195 yards passing last week with no touchdowns. Although Matt Ryan played well against the Broncos defense, it was the turnovers by the offense that allowed Ryan a short field to work with.
Tom Brady against Baltimore. This will be a hard matchup for Brady as the Ravens always play him tough. In the last two meetings, Brady is averaging 265 passing yards with only one touchdown versus four interceptions. The Ravens have allowed just one passing touchdown this season.
Carson Palmer against Pittsburgh. Despite only throwing one touchdown in each game this season, Palmer is the eighth-best quarterback in fantasy leagues, averaging almost 20 fantasy points a game. He has a tough matchup this week against the Steelers, so if he’s been on your bench as a backup and your starter hasn’t been producing, you may want to hold off for another week. It’s always tempting to put that reserve player in your lineup when they have more fantasy points than your starter. The Steelers last week brought Mark Sanchez back to earth, holding him to just 138 passing yards and one touchdown.
Bad running back matchups this week:
Adrian Peterson against San Francisco. Peterson returned from injury to score twice in Week 1 but failed to see the end zone last week against Indianapolis. This week he faces the top-ranked rushing defense from last season. The 49ers have held starting running backs to an average of 35.5 yards per game and have yet to allow a rushing touchdown this season.
Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells against Philadelphia. The Eagles did well last week, keeping Ray Rice out of the end zone. Wells has had a tough start to the season rushing for just 14 yards in Week 1 and 44 yards in Week 2 with no touchdowns this season. I don’t expect him to do much in this game, either.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis against Washington. Green-Ellis already has 39 carries on the season. Last year he didn’t reach 39 carries until Week 4. I am concerned about him wearing down early this season because he has never carried the ball more than 229 times in a season. He has a tough matchup this week against the Redskins, who have not allowed a touchdown on the ground this season.
Week 3: Rest your injured players and shuffle your lineup to account for the upcoming bye weeks.
Good Luck to everyone in Week 3.